Key Highlights

  • With travel now plummeted due to COVID pandemic, timeshare owners searching for ways to cut costs and get out of previous agreements
  • Timeshare maintenance costs in the midst of COVID and high unemployment, more owners looking to sell their shares in vacation properties

Owning a portion or two in a vacation property used to look good when timeshare owners were generating a steady income to afford their share of the property’s expenses, travelers were traveling and renting their property share, and people’s lives were relatively hassle-free and safe. Now, during the COVID pandemic…not so much.

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Alexandra Olson, CEO of Give Up My Timeshare, a timeshare resale startup, pretty much summed it up when she told ABC News, “I think as we’re all looking around the world wondering when we can travel again, the idea of paying $1,000 or so a year indefinitely isn’t very appealing.” Timeshare ownership is looking particularly unappealing since even people with disposable incomes are cutting and/or delaying non-essential costs such as renting a timeshare property.

(On top of the yearly maintenance fee of approximately $1,000/year, the average timeshare cost is approximately $20,000, according to a report from the American Resort Development Association.)

 So how do owners of timeshare portions shed their ownership responsibilities? According to Christopher Elliot writing for Forbes, sell it, assume the fees that come with breaking the timeshare property agreement or hire a lawyer to either help negotiate or sue one’s way out of the deal. All of Elliott’s options are difficult during “normal” times but even more difficult, of course, during pandemic times.

Mike Kennedy, CEO of timeshare rental company KOALA Forbes, advises timeshare owners wanting to sell their interests to revise their price expectations downward. (Sound familiar?) “The market does not empathize with what you paid for your timeshare. The true resale market is typically much, much lower than what someone has paid.”

Gordon Newton, author of The Consumer’s Guide to Timeshare Exit, adds a caveat to Kennedy’s advice. Find a timeshare professional to help sell or renegotiate a timeshare contract who has a good track record doing just this. “Right now, it is critical that timeshare owners are aware that there are so many new entrants in the timeshare exit space. I’ve counted over a dozen since the start of the pandemic. Many of these companies have no experience in the timeshare exit business and there is no regulation to stop anyone from opening a timeshare exit company.”

Another timeshare expert, Lisa Ann Schreier, told Forbes’ Elliott, “In no case should you speak with anyone in the sales department (when consulting with a timeshare exit representative.) They have one job and that job is not to help you figure out your finances.”

 

Thanks to InmanNews and Forbes.

Also read: Help Your Clients Become Real Estate Investors in 2020, Podcast: How To Sell The Unsellable Listing (Part 2), Podcast: Short Sales, REOs and BPOs. What You Must Know Now! | Tim and Julie Harris